U-M secondary coach Curt Mallory noted recently that tight, aggressive coverage, which Michigan employed this year, and deep safeties also serve as a deterrent to teams, and makes completing passes, especially the downfield bombs that can quickly add yardage to a rival's tally, difficult. The Maize and Blue allowed only 14 pass completions all year of 30 yards or more.
Still, Michigan lived dangerously when the ball was up in the air as it showed an inability to break up passes or intercept passes. U-M had just seven interceptions this year, tying the program's single-season record low of 1961, 1958, 1941 and 1938.
During the past 15 years, Michigan has held opponents below 200 yards passing per game six times, and has always defended more passes than it did this past season. In 1997, the national-championship defense led by Charles Woodson got its hands on a program-best 45.2 percent of 155 incompletions while the 2007 (34.1 percent) and 2003 (31.1 percent) defenses also broke the 30-percentage mark.